Category: Design

Unseen Art: 3D Printing Classical Paintings for the Blind 

Unseen Art

“You can look but you can’t touch.” That’s one of the first rules of museums, which house priceless works of art. But what about the community of blind and visually impaired who use their sense of touch to experience the world? The Unseen Art Project is an initiative to make art more accessible and inclusive by using 3D-printing technology to create replicas of masterpieces that can be touched ’till your heart is content.

“There are many people in the world who have heard of classical artworks their whole lives but are unable to see them,” says Marc Dillon, a Helsinki-based designer who wants to make works like the Mona Lisa touchable. In order to make his vision a reality, Dillon has recently established a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. He hopes to raise enough money to create an online repository where artists can contribute 3D data of artworks and anyone with a 3D printer will be able to print it out.

With the price of 3D printers drastically coming down in recent years, Dillon’s project has the potential to “touch” a large population of people who have an interest in art but have never been able see it. As the campaign points out, “It would be a revolution to get blind people going to art galleries, people hate them because there is nothing there to touch!” (via The Creators Project)

Unseen Art

Unseen Art

Unseen Art

Unseen Art

unseen art (9)

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Art Meets Cartography: The 15,000-Year History of a River in Oregon Rendered in Data 


When considering the historical path of a river, it’s easy to imagine a torrential flood that causes a stream to overflow its banks, or a drought that brings a body of water to a trickle. The reality of a river’s history is vastly more complex, as the artery of water gradually changes directions over thousands of years, shifting its boundaries imperceptibly inch by inch.

Geologists and cartographers have grappled with helpful ways to visually depict a river’s flow over time. In 1941, the Mississippi River Commission appointed Harold Fisk to undertake a groundbreaking effort to map the entire Lower Mississippi Valley. Three years later he produced a stunning series of 15 maps that combine over 20 different river paths obtained through historical charts and aerial photography.

The beautiful map seen here of the Willamette River Historical Stream Channels in Oregon by cartographer Dan Coe also shows the history of a river, however Coe relied on more recent aerial radar technology called lidar. From The Oregonian:

Lidar data is collected by low-, slow-flying aircraft with equipment that shoots millions of laser points to the ground. When the data is studied, an amazingly accurate model of the ground can be mapped.

It is possible to strip buildings and vegetation from the images, so that only the ground is shown. In the Willamette River poster, the shades of white and blue show elevations. The purest white color is the baseline, (the zero point, at the lowest point near Independence on the upper part of the image). The darkest blue is 50 feet (or higher) than the baseline.

The shades of white show changes in elevation, between 0 to 50 feet. This brings out the changes made by the river channel in the last 12,000 to 15,000 years, in the time since the landscape was basically swept clean by the Missoula floods.

The map is usually available as a print through the Nature of the Northwest Information Center, however the site appears to be down at the moment. (via Feltron, The Oregonian)

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The “Sea Organ” Makes Perpetual Music with Ocean Waves 

While many of us are content to listen to the natural sounds of ocean waves, architect Nikola Bašić took things a step further and faciliated a means for ocean currents to produce actual music. Behold: the Sea Organ. Constructed in 2005, the acoustic jetty spans some 230 feet (70 meters) and incorporates 35 polyethylene tubes of varying diameter. As waves flood each tube underwater, displaced air is forced through large whistles tuned to play seven chords of five tones. Day in and day out, music seems to emanate from the ground, a playful interplay between nature and design. Listening to the video above, the sound is somewhat like random chords played by a huge calliope.

linssimato/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bašić’s Sea Organ won the 2006 European Prize for Urban Public Space, and was inspired by a 1986 piece in San Francisco of similar design called the Wave Organ by Peter Richards and George Gonzalez. (via IFLScience)

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Short Edition: A Short Story Vending Machine that Prints Free Stories On-Demand 


Need to kill a few minutes while waiting for a bus or train? Instead of mindlessly staring at your phone or twiddling your thumbs, why not print out a quick short story. A small start-up in Grenoble, France aims to do just that with the Short Edition vending machine. The machines were conceived by Short Edition co-founder Christophe Sibieude who was standing in front of a traditional candy vending machine and questioned if there might be a better way to pass the time other than snacking.

So far, eight of the minimalistic vending machines have been installed around the city, each of which has three buttons that correlate with how much reading time you have to spare: 1, 3, or 5 minutes. The stories print instantly on narrow receipt paper which makes for easy reading and storage. The randomly printed stories are written by the Short Edition community, and also include poems and other forms of experimental short fiction.

If you liked this, also check out the Biblio-Mat. (via Hyperallergic)




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A New Japanese Painting Supply Store Lines its Walls With 4,200 Different Pigments 


Thousands of pigments fill glass vials below the slatted wood ceilings of the new concept Pigment, an art supply laboratory and store that just opened in Tokyo by company Warehouse TERRADA. The store design was created by architect Kengo Kuma, utilizing bamboo and large open spaces to create a sense of unity with the outdoors and spark the imagination of those who enter.

In recent years fewer artists have turned to more traditional methods of art making, diminishing the number of successors to these older forms. Pigment aims to provide hard-to-find tools for the preservation of older paintings while also inspiring the latest generation of artists to incorporate these older materials into newer works. In addition to selling brushes, pigments, special glues, and papers (some used in Japanese painting since the Meiji period), the store will also provide workshops by both art professors and manufacturers of the supplies housed in-store.

If you can’t make it to Japan to experience the space in person, you can browse Pigment’s large supply of pigments and rare materials on their online store here. (via Designboom)








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Windows that Double as Accordion Fold Skylights and Glass-Bottom Balconies 


More Sky,” a thesis project by architect Aldana Ferrer Garcia, gives those with cramped apartments the chance to spread out—out beyond the walls of one’s living space. The project merges a window, lounge, and skylight, surrounding users in natural light while providing a bit more space just outside their apartment’s confines.

Each of the concepts serves as a niche that can provide more access to natural light and nature within an urban environment. “Hopper Window” allows a nearly full recline, the owner able to glance up into the sky while resting against the accordion-like window. The second, “Casement Window,” is a small semi-circle protruding from the wall, giving a single person the ability to sit cross-legged while glancing out of the overhang. The third, “Awning Window,” is the smallest of the three, just enough room to lean against while glancing down at the world happening below.

The Argentinian architect seeks to address the lack of human scale often found in architecture, and recently completed her Masters of Industrial Design at the Pratt Institute. Her work has been featured in London Deign Week, Interior Design Magazine, Dwell, and The Woodworkers Journal. (via Lost at E Minor)








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